Four Navy and Marine Corps students from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Department of Operations Research (OR) presented theses examining applicable improvements to operational dynamics in ship and maintenance schedules, aircraft inspection procedures, manpower management and unmanned autonomous systems to an online panel of judges for the spring quarter Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Stephen A. Tisdale Thesis Award, May 27.
Following the presentations and deliberations, the judges awarded U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Ryan Martinez with the spring quarter MORS/Tisdale Award, citing that his research represented the most near-term operational relevance to the service. Martinez’s thesis focuses on how to modernize the Recruit Distribution Model to more efficiently assign Marine recruits into a more specialized and capable fighting force by minimizing idle time between training schools, maximizing fit pairings, and ensuring that assignments through the year meet Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs staffing goals.
“These finalists represent just a few of the amazing students and top-notch theses in the Naval Postgraduate School Operations Research department,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Nicholas Ulmer, Program Officer for the OR department. “Their research is recognized as high quality and may provide immediate or near-term value to the defense of the United States.”
Martinez was very grateful to receive the MORS Tisdale honor while tackling something even more important to him – tangibly making the Marine Corps better.
“My favorite part of Operations Research is its applicability, and I wanted to utilize the skills I learned at NPS to tackle a project that could improve the Marine Corps,” said Martinez.
He noted that he found the research topic from the Naval Research Portal (NRP), where military organizations post research topics that NPS students and faculty can tackle. Resources like NRP provide NPS the opportunity to turn theory and theses into applied research where officers like Martinez can pool graduate-level education with their operational experience.
“I knew [NRP] was the place I would find my ideal thesis topic because it was the organizations themselves asking for NPS students to solve crucial problems they needed answered,” said Martinez. “Once I found the topic posted on the NRP, it clearly sounded like it could make a substantial difference in the Marine Corps, so the Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs and I agreed to take it on.”
Operations Research Chair Dr. Matt Carlyle was impressed with all the award finalists and their drive to provide improvements to the warfighter.
“Every time we do the MORS/Tisdale competition, I’m reminded of how relevant and interesting the thesis work is and how applicable it is to the things that the Navy and the Department of Defense are concerned about,” said Carlyle.
The MORS/Tisdale award is named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. Stephen A. Tisdale, a dual-degree graduate of NPS in 1989 who perished in a military aircraft accident on March 21, 1991, while serving with Patrol Squadron 50 off the coast of California. Tisdale’s outstanding and influential thesis, “Assessing Optimal Utilization of Potential Anti-Satellite Architectures,” won the MORS prize for his graduating class, and was also recognized as the top Space Systems Operations student as well.